Let’s go back to 07 and 08, and even the 09 seasons, there was always one common theme: Hungry players. The Phillies were not the THE team to beat, but a team that had been beat way too often in that last 15 years. Respect was to be earned, not attained and the names we now consider household like Howard, Utley, and Rollins were on their way towards building that reputation. Watching the Philies over the last three seasons, even in their amazing regular season run last year, something in my mind was always missing with those teams. Two straight years in a row, they lost to underdog teams, the Cardinals and Giants who seemed to be mentally tougher than them. Both teams seemed to have this presence of invincibility to them, like the Phillies had in those 07-09 teams. They seemed to have this attitude of not excepting to win because of their talent or because of their reputation, but because they would find a way. This has been missing with the Phillies the last few seasons.
Watching the game last night, I watched two Phillies players who bring a totally new attitude to the team; Erik Kratz and Kevin Frandsen. Sure,they aren’t the greatest players. In a perfect world they aren’t even starters, but they bring a focus on every pitch, every play that the Phillies as a whole have missed over the past few seasons. These guys have brought a level of energy and appreciation of baseball to the Phillies which has in part helped put them at least within shouting distance of the Wild Card race. Sure, the Phillies at this point would need a ridiculous run and more than alot to happen in front of them to even come close to the playoffs, but I think they have found something in the second half of this season that goes beyond what we can physically evaluate with this team. The Phillies need to recapture that energy, that approach, that focus which brought them to the point of becoming the class of National League. There is something to be said for having hungry, under appreciated guys on the roster who want to prove themselves.
Remember, Jayson Werth, J.C. Romero,Chris Coste, and Shane Victorino were all those kind of players on that championship team. Moving forward, maybe Erik Kratz is a backup, maybe Kevin Frandsen is a UTIL guy, but the Phillies need to bring in more players and pieces who are hungry like them that are playing to prove themselves and their team. Look at the last two world series winners. The Cardinals and Giants had this ingredient, and it’s becoming obvious it is needed. The championship formula goes beyond great pitching, great bullpen, plus some power. It has alot to do with the clubhouse, and the combination of attitude, team mental toughness, and a belief that no one is better than “Us.” That mix has been missing and it’s time to address it. Your move Ruben.